The End of Minoan Linear A Writing and the Late Minoan IB Fire Destruction of Crete


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Minoan Art Galleries
There came a time when I decided to build a Google Earth GIS dataset of the archaeological sites listed in John G. Younger's excellent publications:

The Cretan Hieroglyphic Texts
Linear A Texts in phonetic transcription
Minoan Linear A Tablets

Minoan Linear A Tablets
Late Bronze Age (LBA)
Late Minoan I Period

My original intention was to simply provide a sound educational GIS publication for those interested in the temporal geographical distribution of the archaeological sites associated with the excavated finds of Minoan Hieroglyphics, Linear A, Trojan Script, and Mycenaean Linear B from the Bronze Age Aegean. When I completed this work I was stunned by the realization of just how truly comprehensive and devastating the Late Minoan IB Fire Destruction of Crete was.

Two interesting and relevant papers regarding this topic are:

"The Chronology of the LM I Destruction Horizons in Thera and Crete", J. V. Luce, Thera Foundation, Second International Scientific Congress, Santorini, Greece, August 1978, pp. 785-789.

"Radiocarbon, Calibration, and the Chronology of the Late Minoan IB Phase", Rupert A. Housley, Sturt W. Manning, Gerald Cadogan, Richard E. Jones and Robert E. M. Hedges, 1999.

Science has never been able to adequately explain the Late Minoan IB fire destruction of Crete. It was so overwhelmingly catastrophic that apparently most, or all, of the palaces, towns, and villas in central and eastern Crete were decimated by intensely hot fires. Though damaged Knossos was repaired to a degree and continued to carry on in some reduced fashion. All of the other palaces including Galatas, Gournia, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros were either destroyed by tsunamis from the Theran eruption or fiercely burned and abandoned forever.

With very few possible exceptions, all of the archaeological finds of Minoan Hieroglyphics and Linear A writing date from about 2200 BC up to the time of the Late Minoan IB destruction event. Only a handful of Linear A finds show up in the period that followed. In the words of John G. Younger, "It is therefore possible that Linear A survived the LM IB destructions, though barely".

Standardized Minoan Linear A Sign Table

Standardized Minoan Linear A Sign Table
Late Bronze Age (LBA)
Late Minoan I Period


This phenomenon can be clearly seen in this GIS dataset. The practice of writing was widely distributed throughout central and eastern Minoan Crete. Writing had been well established among the Minoans for hundreds of years leading up to the destruction. The sharp contrast between the many Linear A archaeological sites on Crete before the destruction and the mere two Linear B sites in the Mycenaean period that followed is incredible. What could possibly have caused the end of writing of an entire people on Minoan Crete and yet be so near the time of the Bronze Age eruption? I would sincerely appreciate any comments that anyone may have.

Instructions
If you already have Google Earth Pro setup on your computer all you need to do is download the GIS mapping below but if not you will need to download the free version here:

Download Google Earth Pro - Free!
With Google Earth Pro downloaded, installed, and working properly on your computer you are now ready to download the GIS mapping file:

Download Minoan Writing GIS Mapping - Free!
Once downloaded simply open it and Google Earth will automatically start up and display the mapping from a great elevation. You can grab the map and move it anywhere you wish by holding down the left mouse button. There are three controls on the upper right of the screen. The top one is for tilting and rotating. The middle one is for panning and the bottom slider is for zooming in and out. Just position an area of interest in the center of the screen and zoom in to see the map's detail. The latitude, longitude, and elevation of your mouse position is displayed on the bottom of the screen. The numbers shown on the right of some list entries below are elevations in meters.

Minoan Hieroglyphics Archaeological Sites
Crete - Caves
Arkalochori
Crete - Palaces
Archanes
Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)
Malia
Phaistos
Zakros
Crete - Peak Sanctuaries
Syme 1137
Vrysinas 827
Crete - Sites
Adromili
Avdou
Ayia Triadha
Gortyn
Gouves
Heraklion
Kalo Horio
Kastelli - Pediada
Kritsa
Lastros
Lithines
Mochlos
Myrtos-Pyrgos
Neapoli
Palaikastro
Petras
Pinakiano
Pressos
Sitia
Skhinias
Xida
Ziros
Crete - Tholos Tombs
Odigitria
Cyclades and Aegean Islands
Paros, Prodromos
Samothrace, Mikro Vouni
Minoan Linear A Archaeological Sites
Crete - Caves
Agios Charalambos
Arkalochori
Psychro
Skoteino
Crete - Palaces
Archanes
Gournia
Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)
Malia
Phaistos
Zakros
Crete - Peak Sanctuaries
Kofinas 1166
Petsofas 231
Syme 1137
Traostalos 495
Vrysinas 827
Youkhtas 783
Crete - Sites
Apodoulou
Armeni
Ayia Triadha
Kardamoutsa
Larani
Mochlos
Myrtos-Pyrgos
Nerokourou
Palaikastro
Papoura
Petras
Poros Herakleiou
Prassa
Pseira
Sitia
Troullos
Tylisos
Crete - Tholos Tombs
Platanos
Cyclades and Aegean Islands
Kea, Ayia Irini
Kythira, Kastri
Milos, Phylakopi
Samothrace, Mikro Vouni
Thera (Santorini), Akrotiri
Levant
Tel Haror
Mainland Greece
Aghios Stephanos
Argos
Mycenae
Tiryns
Western Anatolia
Miletus
Mycenaen Linear B Archaeological Sites
Crete
Knossos
Kydonia (Chania)
Greece
Mycenae
Pylos
Thebes
Tiryns
February 21, 2009

Some physicians' handwriting can be as undecipherable as Linear A. Writing prescriptions was done by hand for many years, but now orders for medications like Valsartan are usually transmitted electronically. Even a Valsartan lawsuit attorney would agree that an electronic system is more reliable than handwritten prescriptions.


W. Sheppard Baird